Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that allows you to send short messages of up to 140 characters each. You can blog about anything you like, be it about what you are doing, reading, comment on events or even what you had for lunch! Each message is referred to as a ‘tweet’.
As a business tool Twitter is very versatile. It can be used to attract new business, connect with customers, share business tools and techniques and build relationships, basically it is a great way to build your brand and spread the word. In this context it is advisable to keep your tweets ‘on message’ and related to your business in some way rather than commenting on celebrities, soaps and football etc.
To get the most out of Twitter you need to build your community/network. The real power of Twitter lies in the ability to establish meaningful relationships with existing and potential customers through on-going engagement. Twitter has the power to transform many businesses.
Getting Started on Twitter
Getting started on Twitter is easy and setting up an account only takes a few minutes. However, if you want to create a business identity that resonates with your customers you need to apply a little more thought and planning to create a professional image.
Simply go to the homepage of www.Twitter.com add your name, email address, password and hit the “Sign up for Twitter” button. Once you are in you then need to create and customise your Twitter profile by adding a photo, header, background image, a biography and a background image. But before you do any of those things, you need to give a bit of thought to each of these elements.
Choosing a Twitter Handle for your Business
In most cases, choosing a business Twitter handle (username) is quite simple. However, if your name is very popular or too generic it becomes more complicated as it can cause confusion.
Things to think about when choosing your Twitter Handle:
- You are restricted to 15 characters.
- Generally, the shorter the name the easier it is type and Retweet
- Is your business name generic and easy to confuse with other brands?
- Is your company name regularly miss-spelled? (You may want to create accounts with the common wrong spellings of your business name and point them to your Twitter account).
Where possible your @username should be relevant and specific to your business. It should serve a purpose and be memorable.
When choosing your Twitter handle just think about the process that you went through when choosing your company name. The same issues apply here.
Adding a Photo – Creating an Avatar
An avatar is an image that represents you or your business on Twitter. Individuals tend to use a personal photograph, whilst many businesses use their company logo. There are no hard and fast rules here. If you are a small business it can be worthwhile using a personal photo as people like to see the face behind the business.
Adding a Header
The header serves as another bit of customisation for your account. It is not essential to have an image here, but it can be used to reinforce your company branding and image.
Adding a Bio
Your bio is very important and is one of the first things that a user reads when they visit your page. Again character restrictions apply here – this time a maximum of 160. You need to make it clear what your business is about, why you are on Twitter and why they should follow you.
Adding a Website Link
Adding a link to your website makes it easier for users to find out a little more about what you and is a great means of generating traffic to your site.
Adding a background
Twitter supplies a number of default backgrounds that you can choose from, however they do very little to identify your company. It is worthwhile working with a design company to create an image that represents you and your business branding. The background is displayed behind your timeline.
Because the Twitter bio paragraph has a fixed number of 160 characters you can also use the background to display additional information about your company. Use this area to describe your business in a bit more detail.
There you have it, the basic elements to create your Twitter identity. It is vital to get your ID, bio and photo right and you should not underestimate the importance of these bits of information. This information needs to capture the interest of the person you have followed and make them want to click through to find out more about you and follow you back. You should see this as a window to your business.